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Can grandparents get visitation?

When most people think of child custody issues, they think of two biological parents going through the family court system to decide who will have custody and what the parenting time schedule will look like. However, child custody cases can take many forms, including those between parents who were never married, adoptive parents and even grandparents.

When two people who have children together go through a divorce or end their relationship, it often has an effect on how frequently the grandparents are able to spend time with their grandchildren. In many cases, this can be resolved out of courts if everyone can sit down and talk out what's important to them and what kind of schedule will work and still be in the best interests of the child. However, when this can't happen, grandparents may wonder if there is a way to get court-ordered visitation time.

In the state of Colorado, the family courts do recognize that grandparents have a right to be a part of their grandchildren's lives. However, the amount of leeway the court has in awarding grandparent visitation was limited by the Troxel v. Granville case.

In this case, the Supreme Court ruled that even though the law does allow grandparents to petition for visitation, parents have the right to socialize their children — including with relatives — as they see best. However, as with most things, there may be exceptions. Cases where the children have been living with the grandparents, the grandparents have been caretakers of the children or one of the parents is deceased are possible examples.

Source: FindLaw, "Colorado Child Custody Laws," accessed May 12, 2016

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